Category Archives: Rest

How Gratitude Catches Up to Us as Leaders

Frodo had leadership thrust upon him, and his long journey is, in one sense, a process of his acceptance of his own leadership. He can’t escape it, even with the Ring, and he certainly wasn’t sufficient for it alone. One dear Christ-like figure in the story is Frodo’s friend, Sam.

My dear friend, Will Coats, pictured them this way.

We all rage against God at some point after we were converted, called, and empowered to lead in our particular place. God shows us favor when He chooses us in love to fulfill His gracious plans to many. Some times the person runs ahead of God’s plans, presupposing that they are entitled to it and quite self-sufficient for the task (i.e. Moses; cf. Acts 7:25). Other leaders attempt to manipulate the blessing out of His Hands with an outrageous mo for strategic planning without God’s wisdom. For example, Rebekah and Jacob. God particularly loves to invite reluctant leaders like Moses, Jonah, and Esther to courageous lead for the sake of others’ welfare, but reluctance is yet another way we rage against God’s timing and call on our lives.

What we need is Gospel-rest that comes only after we have raged against God to the point of futility, only to finally realize we were already given the favor – already discovered and wanted and secure in God’s redemptive story. One of my favorite authors, Dan Allender writing on leadership, put it this way:

“Remember, only repeated encounters with our furious flight from God can bring us the genuine rest we seek . . . God invites the one who rages to collapse in his arms of love. Rest comes when we can no longer sustain our flight, and we find God waiting for us. But rest is not true rest without surrender.” How do we surrender? “We must eventually be caught face to face with God and be unnerved by his kindness. Only then will we surrender” (p. 104).

Do you know when a leader knows that she knows she has surrendered to God? When he has assurance that the calling and place and people God gave him to lead was a gift? It is when the leader is thankful, even for the furnace of affliction that has forged her to become the leader she now is, and worn out from avoiding it. Allender adds: “The funny thing about gratitude is that it is not earned or deserved; it, too, is a gift. We can’t force ourselves to be grateful, but we can stumble into the arms of gratitude when we’re exhausted from our running” (p. 108).

Dan B. Allender, Leading with a Limp: Take Full Advantage of Your Most Powerful Weakness (The Crown Publishing Group).

We Rest on Thee and in Thy Name we Go

One of my Christian friends is an artist. Angel sent me a recent image of hers based on a scripture from John’s Gospel.

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“This image is the next step from Abiding. It is “Rivers of Living Water” from John 7:38 It shows rivers of living water (HS) flowing through and out of us as we abide in Christ. God, the husbandman and gardener holds us in place (eternal covenant: white sling) and takes care of all things needed (providence). As we rest in Christ, we produce fruit, more fruit, and much fruit (John 15). All that we do, as we rest in Him, is a cup of living water in His name, to a lost and dying world.” Artist Angel Ambrose

How Do We Rest?

Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest for your souls.”  Jesus Christ

Condemnation, the pointing finger and our own self-condemnation, is the greatest hindrance to rest. What is rest? God rested on the seventh day after creating all things out of nothing, but He never slumbers nor sleeps either (Psalm 121). To rest is to enjoy satisfaction in one’s work, and one’s work cannot be accomplished without grace from God.

We work too by His grace and want to enjoy our labors like Him. In fact, He insists that we do so. What is the problem?  Jesus worked, and did all things well (Mark 7:37), yet the self-righteous conservatives were always pointing their finger at Him in condemnation. Interestingly, people who condemn others or themselves cannot rest because they are never satisfied with God’s work in and through us and others (Matthew 11:28-12:14).

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We (not others), however, may be guilty of sabotaging this precious rest, which God’s insists upon in the longest of the Ten Commandments. If we continue to ignore intimacy with God and frenetically busy ourselves in our doings without resting in Jesus works of creation and providence, we shall never rest satisfied in His glorious work for and in us enough to profit from them (Isaiah 58).

How can we enjoy resting in our Gospel identity, satisfied in all the ways He is working in and through us? Spiritual discipline. At least two times a day, you can take and create sacred space. I recommend early morning and lunch time-ish. These two pictures were from my today’s two times alone with God in solitude. They wouldn’t happen if i did not practice the spiritual discipline of solitude.

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These are two times to quiet your soul – the anxious thoughts and voices that threaten to rule us. It offers our spacious hearts an opportunity to pour in the Gospel once more – to rest satisfied in our being loved and accepted and pardoned and redeemed by the Only One that ever truly loved us. He is working in and through you. So, rest your soul in God alone – the God of your salvation.